Photo: Ellie Shea (Credit: John Nepolian, New Balance National Indoor)
Last year, then-Belmont High sophomore Ellie Shea stepped off the course at the 2021 national high school cross country championship while racing with the lead pack. Something didn’t seem right, so Shea did the wise choice and decided to wait for another day.
That day comes in less than two weeks as Shea again toes the starting line at the Champs Sports Cross Country – formerly the Foot Locker Cross Country – Championships in San Diego after running away with the Northeast Regional title in historic Van Cortland Park in the Bronx on Nov. 26.
Finishing sixth in last year’s regional, Shea started with the lead pack before upping her tempo and dropping a stellar field by the two-mile mark, widening her lead over the five kilometer (3.1 miles) course before finishing in 17:10.7, a clear 100 meters over second place Karrilynn Baloga of New Windsor, NY who clocked in at 17:24.9.
With the victory, Shea returns to the championships in San Diego where she will meet the top harriers from across the country over the 5km course in Bilbao Park. The race will take place on Saturday, Dec. 10, starting at 9:15 a.m. (12:15 p.m. Eastern)
A dual indoor (2022) and outdoor (2021) 5,000 meter high school national champion, Shea has been breaking records – from such stars as Olympian Lynn Jennings and Lesley Welch – from the mile to the 10K on the track and roads in the past six months. In June at Bentley University, Shea lowered her personal best in the 1500 meters to 4:14.35, a state and New England high school record which is the eighth fastest all-time mark in US high school history.
In October, she ran with professional runners in the Boston 10K for Women finishing ninth in 34:11, the 9th fastest 10km road performance in the world this year by women 20 years old and under and the fastest U20 10km in North America this year by nearly two minutes.